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IBM is joining the OpenOffice.org development community, kicking off its participation by donating code it has developed for its Lotus Notes project and promising to contribute to improving the "feature richness and code quality" of OpenOffice.org.

IBM also said it will include the software in its own suite of products, a move some are interpreting as a direct challenge to the market dominance of Microsoft's Office suite.

OpenOffice.org founder, Sun, said it welcomed IBM's collaboration and extended an invitation to other companies to join in, too. John McCreesh, head of marketing for the open source project said that IBM's decision was great news for OpenOffice.

"We welcome IBM's contributions to further enhancing the OpenOffice.org product. But equally important is IBM's future commitment to package and distribute new works that leverage OpenOffice.org technology supporting the ISO ODF standard," he said.

"ODF is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for the IT industry to unify round a standard, and deliver lasting benefit to users of desktop technology."

The great and the good of the open source community lined up to add their support for IBM's move. The company's press announcement includes quotes from Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Ubuntu; Scott Crenshaw, Red Hat's VP of enterprise Linux; and HU Caiyong, CEO of Beijing's Redflag Chinese 2000 Software, a major contributor of code to the OpenOffice project. ®

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